Melodic Nights and Late Night Bites
Do you ever find yourself out late in the evening? Perhaps, like me, doing more talking than eating at a social function? I find myself a tad hungry at the end of the night—but not sure exactly what I am in the mood for. And other times, my friends and I see “no good reason” for the evening to end… just yet. So we find a spot with just the right vibe to curl up, wind it down, and in some cases, enjoy some music as well. So, for all of you “late night nibblers”— here’s a short list, from fancy to casual, that you may want to keep handy!
FANCY PANTS PLACES…
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar- Newport Beach
You are in for a real treat here. Fleming’s just launched a new late night happy hour bar offer that includes all the things we want in a later night dining spot—appetizers, desserts and drinks! This is served from 8:00-10:00pm each evening. (Just a side note, this is in addition to Fleming’s ever-popular 5:00-7:00pm happy hour daily, offering five items for $6.) And for all the holiday shoppers out there, are you listening? This is the perfect reward.
Fleming’s features eight different wines from around the globe, and signature cocktails for $9 each. In terms of late-night cuisine, guests can enjoy four different appetizers, and a specialty dessert for just $9 each. The savory menu items include: Savory Ahi Tuna Tacos (this is my favorite!), Filet Mignon Flatbread, Short Rib Empanadas, Lobster Lettuce Wraps, and for dessert, a deconstructed Balvenie S’more! Need I say more…
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar- Fashion Island
455 Newport Center Drive- Newport Beach, CA 92660
Hours: Monday- Thursday 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday & Saturday 5:00 – 11:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 10:00pm
Mastro’s Ocean Club Restaurant- Crystal Cove (with live music nightly)
This is one of the top ten steakhouse brands in the U.S. according to Gayot. And their Crystal Cove location on Pacific Coast Highway will not disappoint. Entering the bar area, the horseshoe shaped bar glistens with a backdrop of bottles, fine liqueurs and cognacs. A beautiful, tall tree stands at attention in the adjacent courtyard. With the dark wood, and dramatic lighting, this room has such a warm, comfortable ambiance.
A “secret find” to know about here, (and I almost hate to share this one) is that guests can reserve the booths that flank both sides of the bar. This is a perfect perch for commanding views of the bar, courtyard, and the live music tucked in the corner. Mastro’s offers music every night of the week beginning at 6:30pm, which is rather unique in Newport. (Sunday through Thursday the music ends at 10:30pm, and on Friday and Saturday nights they play until 11:30pm.) The lounge is open until 1:00am daily.
Guests can enjoy a complete dining experience at the bar until 10:00pm during the week, and 11:00pm on Friday and Saturday nights. The menu is steak and seafood centric, so do know that. Executive Chef Josef Morphis creates an impressive tiered seafood tray perfect for sharing, and so many appetizer choices it makes my head spin with options. Or, you can go big, with steaks, chops, rack of lamb and chicken, all served with potatoes and veges. It is all here for the asking.
Mastro’s Ocean Club Restaurant
8112 East Coast Highway- Newport Beach, CA 92657
Hours: Sunday- Thursday 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday & Saturday 5:00 – 11:00pm
Lounge 4:00pm – 1:00am daily
Aqua Lounge- Newport Beach (with Music some evenings)
The Aqua Lounge is a perfect setting for cocktails, appetizers and even music on some evenings. Guests can enjoy gourmet cuisine, in a stunning lounge setting, and Thursday through Saturday can enjoy late night bites from 11:00pm to 1:30am. The DJ starts spinning & jamming at 8:00pm. I have found that the Thursday evening DJ music mix is a bit more subtle—background music, if you will. Friday and Saturday evenings it gets cranked up to a party atmosphere. The cuisine is delivered from the restaurant, Oak Grill, and everything I have had is delicious. My “personal favorite” is the Mushroom and Truffle Flatbread. They also have Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Spuds with Parmesan & Truffle, Short Rib Beignets, Oysters on the half shell, and so forth. Thursday through Saturday, the “after hour menu” includes such things as: a Classic Burger, Breakfast Burrito, Street Tacos, and other items as well.
Aqua has a plethora of seating options, making it very flexible for parties of all sizes. The indoor seating is expansive, and the color palette is welcoming with hints of the sea. Warm cream leather couches and chairs envelope guests, with elegant aqua and silver carpeting that mimics waves. And with soft lighting it is just dreamy. There is also a small outdoor wood planked patio. (This is my spot, as here I enjoy watching what goes on inside the lounge, out on the patio, and at the pool and fireplace area in the distance.) And last but certainly not least, is The Fire Side. This sits one level below, with greenery surrounding it, and an expansive patio—seating 30 people, I would guess. There is a wooden pergola structure overhead, and I assume vines will soon be growing skyward on the upright columns. A large fire pit is center stage with conversational seating all around. (Live music was recently added on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00pm. Please see the link below to view the weekly featured musicians.)
Aqua Lounge @ Island Hotel
690 Newport Center Drive- Newport Beach, CA 92660
Hours: Sunday –Thursday 11:00am to 12:00am
Friday and Saturday 11:00am to 1:00am
For information regarding “late night bites” and musicians, please visit: www.aqualoungenb.com/menus/bites
Bayside Restaurant- Newport Beach (Nightly Music)
Bayside is one of my favorite “go to” happy hours offering great dining, craft beers & cocktails and 34 wines by the glass. It is just an elegant setting and the staff is very friendly and well trained. We slide in at the bar, and by 6:30pm a wonderful small group starts serenading us all. Music can be enjoyed every night of the week, and also for Sunday Brunch. And later on Friday evenings, from 10:30pm to 12:30am, a wonderful “Late Night Jazz” group plays to the crowd. To complement the music, Executive Chef Paul Gstrein has crafted a “late night supper menu” featuring numerous items, such as: Angus Beef Burger, Lobster Salad, a Mediterranean Olive Medley and those decadent Garlic Parmesan French Fries.
900 Bayside Drive – Newport Beach, CA 92660
Happy Hours at Bayside Restaurant:
Monday – Thursday 4:30pm-9:30pm
Wildfish Seafood Grille
As the name implies, Wildfish is an innovative seafood restaurant, with the freshest of seafood at the core of their culinary program. Serving a great happy hour every night from 4:00 to 7:00pm has put this spot on the map for many locals. And during the summer months the outdoor patio is always jammed. And on Sunday and Monday evenings, the happy hour runs all evening long in the lounge! A great selection of appetizers are on hand, including: Pot Stickers, Crispy Shrimp, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Steak & Lobster Tartare, Seared Pacific Ahi Tuna, and on the list goes.
Wildfish Seafood Grille
1370 Bison Ave- Newport Beach, CA 92660
Hours: Sunday 4:00- 10:00pm
Monday – Thursday 4:00-11:00pm
Friday & Saturday 4:00pm- 12:00am
MORE CASUAL SPOTS….
The Crow Bar and Kitchen- Corona del Mar
This American-style gastropub has something for everyone on the menu and items change with the season, which has my attention straight away. The team is supportive of sustainable agriculture and using local farms whenever possible. Dining is available Sunday through Wednesday nights until 10:00pm, and until midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Appetizers include daily Tacos, Oysters, Sausage trio with fresh baked Pretzel, Grilled Artichoke and BBQ Pork Belly Sliders, to name a few. There is a lovely selection of Charcuterie Board items, Soups, Salads, brick oven Flatbreads, Fresh Fish, Short Ribs, Burgers & Sandwiches, and even nightly specials. With 24 beers on tap, 26 by the bottle and 31 wines by the glass, this is a late night stop with plenty to offer.
The Crow Bar and Kitchen
2325 East Coast Highway
Corona del Mar, CA 92625
Hours: Monday- Wednesday 11:30am – 11:00pm
Thursday & Friday 11:30am – 2:00am
Saturday 10:00am to 2:00am
Sunday 10:00am to 11:00pm
Back Bay Bistro- Newport Beach- “Wine Down Wednesdays”
Back Bay Bistro at The Newport Dunes enjoys spectacular views of the Back Bay, and has a retractable roof canopy for that indoor/outdoor vibe. Back Bay offers a creative happy hour all evening on Wednesdays and has live music as well. For $16 per person, guests can enjoy a Wine and Cheese Pairing. A cheese and Charcuterie Plate is presented and guests can pair this with one of 4 different glasses of wine. Select bottles are also half price on Wednesdays. (On Thursday, Back Bay turns to “Date Night” offering a lovely 3 course Prix Fixe shared dinner for two at $29.)
Back Bay Bistro
1131 Back Bay Drive-Newport Beach, CA 92660
Hours: Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday
Wednesday- Saturday 11:00am – 2:30 and 4:00 to 9:00pm
Bandera Restaurant- Corona del Mar
Rotisserie chickens gently rotating in the window must be what draws the crowd in. But, the locals come swarming in as soon as this spot opens their doors. And that is always a good sign in my book. The restaurant is a woodsy, Craftsman-style with low ceilings, and a gentle vibe. The staff is impeccable. The food is always delicious. The “not to miss” items include: the Cornbread, Rotisserie Chicken, Prime Rib and the Chicken Enchiladas served with a few slices of the Tri-Tip. That is my go-to favorite! Guests can enjoy a complete dinner at the bar until 10:00 or 11:00 depending on the evening. Also, this restaurant does an outlandish business in the “To Go” category…. all night long. The reason why? They make it easy! There is a separate parking spot for ten minute parking and a separate window inside to cash out and collect the goodies. I see guests parading in and out all night long and they are not inside for more than four minutes. Bravo! Doing us proud in CdM!
3201 Pacific Coast Highway, Corona del Mar, CA 92625
Hours: Monday – Thursday 5:00-10:00pm
SideDoor Gastropub- Corona del Mar
This Five Crowns side-kick opened their doors and it just exploded. They capture the dinner guests by default, but that isn’t even the half of it. They have a strong local following, a craft cocktail and beer fan club, and a late night, “I live down the street” crowd that saunters in about 9:30pm. The SideDoor offers a chef demonstration area, serving up delicious sharing plates, Beef Dip sandwiches, Charcuterie, and the best Guacamole in town. SideDoor serves their delicious pub-inspired cuisine every night until 11:00pm. So this is a spot to pop into when in the mood for some comfort food and people watching at its best.
3801 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar, CA 92625
Hours: Daily 4:30- 11:00pm
Sunday also for brunch 11:00am to 3:30pm
AN INTERESTING NEW OFFERING….
bambú Restaurant at Fairmont Hotel- Newport Beach- “Liquid Arts Series”
Guests can discover the diverse world of wine and spirits with award-winning sommeliers, mixologists and chefs as they learn the history of iconic brands, respected regions and the art of pairing at the Liquid Arts Series from 6:00 to 7:00pm on the first Wednesday of every month (excluding December). Cost is $20 upon arrival (and includes valet parking). Each wine is paired with some delicious chef inspired treats. After the event, guests are encouraged to enjoy a special Prix Fixe menu in bambú Restaurant for $65 per person. If guests choose to stay for the dinner, the tasting will be complimentary. Stay late and enjoy the fun!
bambú at Fairmont Newport Beach
4500 MacArthur Blvd.
Newport Beach, CA